D&D PDFs Are Back, and Other News

A couple of days ago, Wizards of the Coast brought D&D PDFs back on sale. They pulled them originally something like four years ago, after the decision that selling PDFs leads to PDF piracy, which equals lost sales, which can be rectified by making sure that the wealth of already-released D&D PDFs was only available illegally. No, I don’t get it, either. Indeed, the decision’s arrant stupidity made me so angry at the time I made me decide not to buy a single thing from WotC until they brought the PDFs back. This was not hard, because it was at the beginning of the 4E era and in the absence of PDFs, they didn’t really sell anything I particularly wanted to buy, either.

I may also have demanded an apology for the travesty, but I understand if that’s not forthcoming. I was pretty mad at the time.

Now they’ve finally decided to rejoin the rest of us in the 21st century. The PDFs are back at OneBookShelf, and even people who’d originally bought them got their purchases returned to their downloads, which I thought was nice. They’re now available at D&D Classics, as subset of the same webstore that operates under the titles of DriveThruRPG and RPG Now. They’re not all there yet, but it isn’t a bad selection for a start. Also, if the free B1 In Search of the Unknown they’ve got up is any indication of the quality we may look forward to, it’ll be worth the wait.

It’s a professionally-done PDF. Clean scan, quality OCR, fully copypastable. The pagination matches up and the bookmarks are all there. The text comes with some unnecessary line breaks, but I can live with that. Commendable job, all around. I can’t really fault the pricing, either. As a nice touch, most of the product pages have a product history, which are written by Shannon Appelcline and Kevin Kulp.

Like said, the selection isn’t comprehensive yet and they lack stuff like all of Dragonlance, but what’s there is the good stuff. For instance, they have one of my favourite gaming products of all time, Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, which is how NPC accessories should be done. Unfortunately, their Deities & Demigods doesn’t appear to be the original, with Cthulhu and Melnibonéan mythos. Then there’s the historical reference series, which, like most things 2E that didn’t have to do with the ruleset, are awesome. There’s The Sunless Citadel, whence comes the only lovable kobold in the history of the game, Meepo; often imitated, never bettered. Craploads of 1st-edition and basic D&D adventures, too.

So, here’s me saying something nice about WotC for the first time since December 2007, when I first playtested Dungeons & Dragons 4E.

Incidentally, WotC also sells novels as ebooks on Amazon, nowadays.

Rock’n Loud at IndieGoGo

There’s a new Finnish RPG project on IndieGoGo. It’s called Rock’n Loud, and it’s about the life of a rock band, exploring themes like power chords, drug addiction, groupies and black leather. I don’t yet have a really good feel of the content, but pledged for the PDF copy just on the merit of it being Finnish, and music being an underexplored theme in roleplaying games (the only other RPGs about musicians that I can think up now are Umlaut, Tähti and the d20 minigame published in Polyhedron, “Hi-Jinx”).

There’s not much out about the game yet, but I am optimistic.

Me, D&D Novels, on LOKI

I just started an article series on LOKI about gaming tie-in fiction. It’s in Finnish, which may not be overly helpful for most of you, but if you want, I can recommend a good self-studying package. I foresee writing quite a few followups to it. Despite the picture, I am not condemning them all, but seeking the about 100 good books that according to Sturgeon’s Law should exist underneath the mound of crap.

In other news, I spent a few days in Zurich a couple of weeks ago and picked up some fascinating gaming products in strange and foreign tongues. There will be at least one photoessay forthcoming once I can wrangle the time to do something about it.